This 3-part image consulting blog series inspects your personal image from 3 different angles: Your communication, your appearance and your digital presence. In the third part we look at the significance of your digital presence as a part of your personal image in an ever growing world of social media.
Have you ever looked at someone’s social media profile and did not have a clue what their personal brand was all about? Or disliked them immediately? Or thought that they are not authentic?
You can roughly divide the most annoying social media profiles in two extremes: They are either a mishmash of awkwardly public glimpses to their private lives, serial shares and likes of articles from non-reputable sources and a myriad of questionable associations, or eerily silent or abandoned profiles without anything tangible to hold on to. Frustrating and confusing, isn’t it?
Nowadays your personal brand is only as strong as your digital presence and it’s a fact of life that cannot be overlooked.
We all Google people
Are you going to meet someone new? The first thing that pops into your mind while preparing, for an interview or a date, is to enter the person’s name in that search field and to hit the magnifying glass icon. In the recent years it has become socially acceptable and a every day custom to Google all new acquaintances.
According to a CareerBuilder study in February and March 2017 a whopping 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. It is at all-time high, for comparison last year the number was 60% and in 2006 only 11%.
Thanks to technology it’s now so easy to have friends, colleagues and business partners all over the world and it’s opening us doors that we never even knew were there. Your closest friends and family know you in real life and can overlook your online mishaps and still think you are the same fantastic person, but it’s good to remember that some people who will only know the digital you -and there are many of them.
That is why it’s important to pay attention to your digital presence, and to start building one if you don’t already have one. It seems that without a digital presence, you almost don’t exist.
Your digital presence consists of
- All your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to mention a few
- Your website (if applicable)
- All the photos of you that you or anyone else have ever posted online
- Anything you have written or that has been written about you on discussion forums, blogs or articles posted online
Time for a digital clean up
- The best way to start is to google yourself and to look at all the findings with a critical eye, perhaps with a help from a friend who will tell it like it is, or a professional such as myself. Is your content aligned with your personal brand? And is your content relevant to your personal brand?
- Consider separating your personal and professional profiles. How you want to define the boundaries between work and private is fully up to you but in general it’s rarely a good idea to connect with your business contacts on a personal level.
- Take a critical look at your photos. Do they need to be public or should you limit their audience? A professional head shot gives always a good impression but nobody expects it on your personal profile. Photos of food, nature, animals and sports are always a safe choice. Family and alcohol may prove problematic so approach carefully. Avoid politics, religion, bullying and violence. Make sure your photos don’t violate the privacy of others.
- Remove anything on your public profile that can be interpreted in the wrong way. This includes liking pages and being a member of public groups. Tasteless and inappropriate jokes, remarks and comments are best shared with a limited audience, or not at all as we all know how to take screenshots by now.
Take control of the digital you
- The good news is that you are able to feed your digital footprint with positive content on relevant platforms. Concentrate on cultivating a solid online presence that makes your personal brand shine and strengthens your executive presence.
- Highlight your skills and achievements, including your personal ones (without being too personal, if you catch my drift). Running a marathon or doing volunteer work always give a positive first impression as does sharing professional content of events that you have attended such as conferences and workshops.
- Don’t be afraid to show your creative or compassionate side as it makes you more dimensional and therefore more attractive and unique.
- Create a realistic online strategy that fits your goals and technical skills. Update content regularly and keep your pages manned. When the lights are on people assume that someone is home, same applies to social media.
- Keep on feeding relevant and positive content on your pages and engage with others in a friendly manner.
- Remember to thank people and praise them for their achievements too. It’s important to remember that even on social media it’s not always about you.
Nowadays first impressions are often made online so your digital presence is a vital part of your personal brand. Here at I on Image I help you to manage your digital presence on relevant online platforms, increase your visibility and help you to build a reputation that is fully aligned with your personal brand.
READ ALSO other episodes in “Your Personal Image Is Everything”, a 3-part blog series by I on Image
Or grab the best expert tips from LinkedIn expert Petra Fisher of Petra Fisher Consulting in “How to build your personal brand on LinkedIn?”
I am looking forward to working with you!
Your image consultant with an eye for detail